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Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review

Canon Powershot SX260 HS

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is the latest compact model to join Canon’s extensive PowerShot range and comes with some incredible features that include a 20x optical zoom, GPS functionality and the ability to record Full HD movies.

Canon SX260 Design

As with most Canon cameras, the build quality is extremely impressive and is neatly housed within an attractive, yet sturdy metal case. It feels fairly weighty compared with other compact cameras but it’s a reassuring feel thanks to it’s solid build. It’s not a problem at all to carry around or intrusive during use.

There is a raised grip on the front of the camera that allows you to securely hold it whilst shooting and provides a really comfortable feel.

Buttons are well laid out and easy to reach and the rotating dial at the top of the camera include all the standard settings you’d expect to find on a Canon model such as Manual mode, AV Priority, TV Priority and Auto for example.

The Function/Set Button in the middle of the second dial can be used to access a quick menu for a range of shooting options. These are displayed on the left-hand side of the large 3inch screen and options include colour selections such as vivid, sepia and monochrome for example, white balance and drive mode to name a few.

Canon SX260 Features

This 12.1 megapixel camera allows you to fit more in the frame with its 25mm lens and get extremely close to distant subjects with a 20x optical zoom.

The ISO has an impressive range of 100 through to a massive 3200, with an extended High Sensitivity setting of 6400 as well, but bear in mind that this is at a lower resolution.

This camera is unbelievably fast when it comes to shooting in continuous mode thanks to its DIGIC 5 image processor. However, when using the Single-shot drive mode, it takes around 2.5 seconds to reload between shots, which I found pretty frustrating and meant I often missed my opportunity to capture what I wanted.

If you like to document your travels, then you’ll love the Canon SX260 HS’s built-in GPS with Map Utility software (included in the package) and GPS logger function (the option that sets itself apart from the cheaper SX240 model).  Be aware, that the GPS is set to “off” as a default so if you want to enable it, you’ll need to navigate the main menu, go to Settings and scroll down to the GPS Settings menu.

The GPS Logger charts your journey and you can view your progress on the Map Utility software (allows you to upload your pictures to Google Maps).  I did notice however, that the GPS often struggled to find signals indoors or in built up areas, but did work impeccably well outside.

The software for the Map Utility and manual discs are all included within the camera’s box.  Installing the software is very easy indeed.

Some neat added features aside from the usual shooting modes include a Smart Auto scene selector, an Easy mode for Quick Menu options and a LiveView mode to easily control exposure, vibrancy and white balance. There is also a Movie Digest mode that automatically records a short video clip when a still image is taken and a Discreet mode that takes photos without flash and camera sounds.

There are more features included within a Creative Filter and these include a Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect and Toy Camera Effect to name a few.  There is also a Panoramic assist mode, which I found to be rather basic compared with other models I’ve used in the past.  It guides you in framing consecutive shots, but you’ll have to stitch them together in post editing on your computer.

Movie recording in Full 1080 HD is also included with a one touch button conveniently placed under the main dial. This means you can easily activate recording without the need to navigate through menus or having to rotate the dial menu.

In advanced shooting modes, you have a choice of Single-point AF, Face Detection, AF priority as well as Tracking AF. There’s also a Manual focus option that enables you to focus with the rotating thumb wheel. I did not find this particularly easy to use and was quite slow to operate.

The zoom operation is responsive albeit rather noisy, so if you are recording video whilst zooming, you’ll hear it whirring during playback. However, sound quality is crisp and clear.

Colours are very pleasing with this model and provide a true likeness with vivid colours but without over-saturating the image. This is supported by extremely accurate light metering as well as the use of Automatic white balance. You do have the choice to manually select this option if you want to experiment to get the best results.

This model has Image Stabilisation technology and this offers sharper images, especially at the wide angle mode and I found image quality to be very good indeed.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Stylish
  • Manual mode faciility
  • Range of features
  • GPS Fuctionality

Cons

  • Basic panoramic feature

Verdict

The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS delivers incredible results, is easy to use and is all neatly housed within a compact and stylish package.   The range of features as well as the flexibility of manual modes, make this model a real pleasure to use.

My only frustration is with the basic panoramic feature but overall, this is a fantastic compact camera that delivers quality, style, flexibility and functionality.  The GPS functionality is a big seller and in my opinion, the SX260 Hs is well worth a look.

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